Under a full moon, in the misty border of Germania
Stood a soldier, with his armour, while it was snowing.
As the moon’s light radiated from her,
He looked longingly at the embers glowing.
As the wind chilled his skin, he shivered.
Goosebumps prickled, rattled the sword in his sheath.
He could feel his eyes closing fast
Weary, untried soldier of the eagle’s Eighth.
His forefathers had fought and bled on this soil
This ground upon which he now stood was built with blood.
The peace that rested upon the land was like a bubble.
All it takes is a touch and it will bust.
His cheeks’ ruddy glow slowly turned to blue,
His pulse began to drop, his eyelids grew weak.
Them feet were growing tired, his arms sore.
His mind went leaping into wonderland, as it sought relief.
Soldier of the Eighth – what could possibly go wrong?
Best quality, latest gear – an unparallelled world power.
Fifteen years of peace, however, was almost over.
Right at that moment came an unseen menace – closer by the hour.
He opened his eyes. Must have dozed off. The fire had burnt out.
The stars above stared down at him, peaking through gathering clouds.
The great eagle and it’s power had fallen asleep.
The grip of death was taking hold o’er the villages and towns.
Their houses built and furnished, the well-off celebrated.
The poor and homeless lay in the streets forgotten.
Years of hard-work was now replaced with party and gaiety,
And the usurpers gloated o’er the ill-gained goods they’d gotten.
Swords now were hung above the fire, memories of old.
The training grounds were used for fun now. No more tears and pain.
Never had there been better days, or so it seemed.
For everything comes with a cost – and there’s a lot of it unpaid.
Something inside his head is telling him to stay awake.
But the cold is so harsh, and his stomach is too full.
He leans against the stone parapet, staring into the night.
It was so dark and lonely out there deep in the woods.
Night after night, he had stood here, waiting to sound the alarm.
Never had it come and now he was just a part of the scenery.
His companion already asleep on duty – alone in the watchtower
The most boring job on his itinerary.
He signed up to fight, but stand watch was all he really ever did.
Starting to get sick of this monotony. Oh, for a real mission.
He finally surrendered. Let his head slide to rest.
His mind zoned out – and he plunged into oblivion.
Meanwhile, as the watchmen slept in their imagined security –
Strode forth quietly a warrior from the depths of the darkness.
The piercing blue eyes narrowed as they rested on the fort,
His body tense and hard as he turned back to the wilderness.
A growling stomach gnawed inside him, his sword blunt and chipped.
Cupped his hands and let out three low hoots like that of an owl.
Turned back to gaze at the fort that thought they were untouchable.
Then he was swallowed up into the darkness and the bitter cold.
Not a man in that fort stirred – it was too cold to move.
Their blankets lulled them asleep as their fires burnt low.
None of them saw the grass start moving:
Hundreds of silhouettes moving in a stealthy row.
From the depths of the darkness when all seemed safe.
Emerged these shadows of men hardened by strife.
Invisible, yet they were there – had been for years.
Waiting patiently to strike. Tonight would be the night.
Blind to the danger, impervious to the warnings,
The Eagle’s Eighth was sound asleep.
Forgetting what it was that got them to this place,
In the morning, the people of the earth would weep.
Story behind the poem:
It rings true for many world powers, that they’re greatest enemies were themselves. After achieving amazing things, they drifted away. They got rich and powerful, and forgot that it was through hard work, sweat, blood, and tears, that they got there. They start to abuse the blessings they have, and become blind to the rot in their society. Eventually, as time goes by, an enemy will rise who will be their downfall. It’s only a matter of time. Take heed if you think you stand, lest you fall.
My poem is completely fictional, but I hope you can sort of see what I was trying to bring out. All the old heads weren’t there, the experienced ones. It was a new generation who had forgotten the important things in life. A generation who were of the invincible mindset and forgot that winning is more than just superior weapons, etc. A generation who forgot to be prepared for anything.
coal photo by Dennis Taufenbach, smoke graphics by http://www.sxc.hu/profile/zuwiu, and soldier images from Centurian and The Eagle.